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Identify Mind Wandering Behind the Wheel

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Title: Identify Mind Wandering Behind the Wheel
Author(s): He, Jibo
Advisor(s): McCarley, Jason S.
Department / Program: Psychology
Discipline: Psychology
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.A.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): Driver Distraction Mind Wandering Eye Movement
Abstract: Driver distraction is a significant risk factor for traffic crashes. Distraction from secondary tasks has been the basis of much research and legislation. However, the influence of cognitive distraction, or mind wandering (Smallwood & Schooler, 2006), on driver performance has not been as closely studied. The current study used a self-report method to capture the moment-to-moment off-task thoughts, and investigated the influence of mind wandering on behavior and performance in a simulated driving task. Participants performed a car-following task in a simulated low-traffic driving environment, and were asked to press a button mounted on the steering wheel any time they found themselves “zoning out”. Driving performance metrics and oculomotor scanning data were analyzed to compare driving behaviors and performance under attentive versus inattentive mental states. The results showed that mind wandering caused horizontal narrowing of drivers' visual scanning, shifts of lane position, and a decrease in the variability of vehicle velocity. Mind wandering influences driver performance in a way similar to distraction from secondary tasks (e.g., Recarte & Nunes, 2000, 2003).
Issue Date: 2011-01-14
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Jibo He
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-01-14
Date Deposited: December 2

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